Symptoms of leukemia in children. Blood test for leukemia
Children - joy and hope. They make parents believe in the future and strive for it. They inspire to conquer peaks and rise, if a fall suddenly occurred. And there is nothing sadder and more tragic than the illness of the native krovinochek. Then it seems that the world has turned over. Of course, everyone can say that children do not grow without ailments, but illness is a disease. Leukemia is one of those diseases that keeps you alert. This problem is very serious. The future of the child depends on how timely the diagnosis of leukemia is made.
Little about the problem
Leukemia is a disease of the circulatory system. It is considered malignant. Reproduction and increase of leukocytes in the blood, in the bone marrow, in the internal organs is uncontrollable. Initially, the tumor grows in the bone marrow, and then begins to “attack” on the blood circulation processes.
While progressing, the disease entails the emergence of other ailments associated with increased bleeding, internal hemorrhages, weakened immunity,infectious complications.
In children, this disease is considered from the point of view of the mutation of healthy cells into pathological ones. Every day they are becoming more and more. Patients may develop different options for the lack of any blood cells.
Types of leukemia
Depending on the degree of the disease, the symptoms of leukemia in children are manifested in different ways. That is why the first look at the possible types of disease.
- According to the degree of cell maturity, leukemia is:
- acute (its sign is the presence of young cells (blasts), which form the basis of the disease)
Types of tumor cells can also be different:
Previously it was believed that acute leukemia in children and in adults is characterized by a rapid course. The fact that the patient will live, was not even talk. But thanks to the introduction of new methods used in treatment, at present the number of survivors has increased by an order of magnitude, and every year they become more and more.
Chronic leukemia is quite rare.
Why does the problem appear in humans
Currently, the exact causes of this disease has not yet been established. Yes, and it is unlikely in the future it will be possible to thoroughly describe them. But still, there are some factors that contribute to the emergence of the disease in question:
- regular contact with chemicals;
- treatment with chemotherapy;
- inflammatory diseases;
- blood disorders;
- Down's disease.
How is the disease manifested
The symptoms of leukemia in children and adults, as mentioned above, depend on the form of the disease, but still there is something in common with all of them:
- lymph nodes increase;
- body temperature rises periodically for no reason;
- if tissue damage may be increased bleeding;
- constant weakness;
- pain in the liver;
- you always want to sleep;
- shortness of breath and sweating;
- appetite is gone;
- weight is reduced;
- sore joints;
- susceptibility to infections.
The development of the disease in a child
Immediately it should be said that the signs of leukemia appear gradually. They make themselves felt about six weeks after the onset of the disease.It is this time that is enough for the accumulation of abnormal cells and for the problem to start signaling its existence.
If you carefully look at the child at the very beginning of the disease, then the following parents should be alerted:
- the baby has changed his behavior: he is often naughty, refuses to eat, does not participate in games, feels tired;
- often began to suffer from colds and infectious diseases;
- his body temperature rises periodically for no apparent reason.
Noticing such symptoms, you should immediately consult a doctor. Maybe he will not make the correct diagnosis, but will send the child to take a blood test. With leukemia, certain changes will be detected in it that will make the specialist and parents watch the baby.
Time is a danger
If you do not refer the child to a specialist, noticing the above symptoms, or if the doctor does not pay enough attention to the baby, more serious signs of leukemia begin to emerge:
- Children complain of pain that appears in the spine, then in the legs.
- They stop walking.
- The skin becomes pale.
- Bruises appear.
- The size of the liver, spleen, lymph nodes.
- In the blood, a decrease in hemoglobin, platelets and red blood cells occurs. The number of leukocytes can be low, medium and high. It depends on the number of blasts in the blood.
These signs prove one thing - a child has leukemia. Symptoms, blood tests indicate this disease.
Details about the disease
What happens to blood in leukemia? The number of white blood cells can be much less than it should be, or, conversely, substantially more. There are cases when the level of leukocytes is very high.
The dominant form of leukocytes in the blood is paraleikoblast. It is an immature cell, pathologically altered, it has a lymphoid or myeloid character, inside it there is a huge nucleus, which sometimes can be of irregular shape. There is no transition between mature and immature cell forms. Mature components are very small, the number of platelets is also small. The bone marrow has almost no normal cells.
A blood test for leukemia in children due to monocytic and lymphocytic reactions may be identical to the analysis for a disease such as aplastic anemia. This is the difficulty of diagnosis.
Sometimes leukemia in children appears suddenly with a characteristic intoxication or hemorrhagic syndrome.
An enlarged lymph node manifests as lymphadenopathy, the growth of the salivary glands is sialadenopathy, and hyperplasia of the liver and spleen is hepatosplenomegaly.
Acute lymphoblastic leukemia in children is characterized by:
- Hemorrhagic syndrome. His symptoms are as follows:
- hemorrhage in the skin and mucous membranes;
- hemorrhages in the joint cavity;
2. Anemic syndrome. Its symptoms are:
- depression of erythropoiesis;
In addition to the above signs, lymphoblastic leukemia in children is characterized by cardiovascular changes. The child has arrhythmia, develops tachycardia, increases the size of the heart muscle.
- Intoxication syndrome is accompanied by:
2. Immunodeficiency syndrome causes the appearance of infectious-inflammatory processes.
The most dangerous complication of the ailment under consideration is leukemic infiltration of the brain, nerve trunks and meninges.With this complication, the symptoms of leukemia in children appear as follows:
Stages of acute leukemia
There are only three of them:
- Initial stage. During this period, all biochemical blood parameters may be normal or slightly change. A slight weakness appears, chronic diseases, bacterial and viral infections return.
- Deployed stage. During this period, with a disease such as blood leukemia, the symptoms are pronounced. Two ways out of this situation: an exacerbation of the disease or remission. During an exacerbation, a transition to the terminal stage takes place; during remission, it is necessary to wait for time. Only after five years or more can we talk about a complete cure.
- Terminal stage. The hematopoietic system is completely suppressed, there is a high probability of death.
With this type of disease, blood cells have time to grow, but they cannot fully perform their functions. A blood test shows the presence of a high number of leukocytes, but these little bodies cannot protect the child's body from infections. After a while, the granule cells become so numerous that the normal blood flow is disrupted.
Symptoms of leukemia in children with its chronic course are not manifested.This ailment can be discovered completely by chance with laboratory testing of blood for another disease.
Chronic stage leukemia has the following:
- Monoclonal Only one clone of pathological cells is present. This phase can last for quite a long time, over the course of many years, characterized as benign.
- Polyclone. At this stage, secondary clones appear. It is characterized by a rapid course. A large number of blasts are formed, a crisis occurs. It is at this point that more than eighty percent of patients die.
Features of the disease
As mentioned above, there are two forms of leukemia: acute (a disease of up to two years) and chronic (a disease of more than two years). Most often in children, this disease is expressed in the acute form, represented by congenital leukemia.
Acute leukemias are divided into:
Acute lymphoblastic leukemia in children occurs when the growth of immature lymphocytes occurs without any control. There are two types of this disease:
- with small lymphoblasts;
- with large polymorphic lymphoblasts.
Acute non-lymphoblastic leukemia in children has several varieties. It depends on which blast cells prevail:
- myeloblastic undifferentiated;
- myeloblastic highly differentiated;
Three stages of the disease:
- acute phase;
- complete or incomplete remission;
A preliminary diagnosis, on which further treatment depends, must be made by a pediatrician. At the first slightest suspicion of leukemia, the child is transferred into the hands of a pediatric oncohematologist. The diagnosis is made on the basis of laboratory methods: studies of the bone marrow and peripheral blood.
At the first stage of a disease such as blood leukemia, the symptoms are not so pronounced, but a complete blood count may already cause suspicion: high ESR, leukocytosis, anemia, absence of basophils and esinophils.
The next step that is taken is a sternal puncture, a study of myelogram. If the content of blast cells is more than thirty percent, then the disease progresses.If clear data could not be obtained, then take a puncture of the ilium.
In addition, immunological, cytochemical, cytogenetic studies are used to make the correct diagnosis.
Be sure to consult with a pediatric neurologist and an ophthalmologist. Thus, a problem such as neuroleukemia is confirmed or refuted. In addition, a lumbar puncture is taken, a study of cerebrospinal fluid, an ophthalmoscopy is performed, and a skull radiography is taken.
Ancillary measures include ultrasound of the lymph nodes, salivary glands, liver and spleen. In boys, scrotal ultrasound is done.
Differential diagnosis of leukemia is carried out using a leukemia reaction.
This is the way the diagnosis of blood leukemia is made, the symptoms of which only at the very beginning are not clearly expressed. Only by conducting the necessary research, you can start treatment on time.
If a child has leukemia, he should be immediately hospitalized to the oncohematology unit. In order for the baby did not catch the infection, it is placed in the box. Conditions are organized almost sterile.Meals should be balanced and complete. This is how the treatment of leukemia in children begins. Otherwise, it is based on chemotherapy, which is aimed at the complete elimination of the disease.
Methods for the treatment of acute leukemia differ from each other by the combination of drugs used, their dose and methods of use. They are divided into several stages:
- achieving remission;
- its fastening;
- maintenance therapy;
- treatment of complications, if they arise.
In addition to chemotherapy, immunotherapy is also provided. In the body of the child are introduced:
- leukemia cells;
- immune lymphocytes and other drugs.
Prospective methods include bone marrow transplantation, umbilical cord blood, stem cells.
Symptomatic therapy includes platelet and red blood cell mass transfusion, hemostatic therapy.
What are the predictions for the further development of the disease?
This moment depends on many factors:
- by age;
- on the type of disease;
- from the stage at which the disease was detected.
The worst result is assumed if acute lymphoblastic leukemia (symptoms described above) is found in children under two years old and older than ten years.Its characteristics: lymphadenopathy, hepatosplenomegaly, neuroleukemia.
The most favorable option is acute lymphoblastic leukemia with small lymphoblasts, treatment at an early stage, the child is from two to ten years old. The percentage of cured girls is slightly higher than boys.
Full recovery occurs only after seven years of no recurrence. But at this time the child should be in almost perfect conditions. Only loving parents can provide it. But how much joy there will be if the doctor says that everything is in order!
Only with early diagnosis of the disease can we hope for a complete victory over the disease. That is why, at the first suspicion of leukemia, immediately consult a doctor. The specialist will conduct a study, prescribe treatment, the child will be under constant monitoring. As a result, not a single leukemic cell will remain in the baby’s body. Well, if all this happens, you always have to hope for it. After all, hope in our life means a lot, only it helps to live and believe.